October 22

5 Tips to Tackle NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.  In the month of November, thousands of writers around the world get together to write a fifty thousand word novel in thirty days. This is something like writing 1667 words every day – which is actually something that many writers do on an everyday basis – but for many new writers and for writers who are blocked, NaNoWriMo plays a vital task and pushes them to get the words out. The month before the NaNoWriMo, i.e. October, is popularly known as Preptober. This is the month when writers prepare for the upcoming NaNoWriMo.

Here are five tips that can help you prepare for NaNoWriMo 2018:

nanowrimo preptober

If you do not want to read the post, just scroll below and you can watch a video of the five tips.

  • Think about your story

Whether you are a pantser who writes in the heat of the moment or a plotter for whom the story develops organically, giving a basic thought to your novel will make tackling NaNoWriMo much easier.  Pantsers discover their story during NaNoWriMo while plotters shape up their story – both are totally fine. However, it would do you good if you can give some thought to your story during October.

Even if you are a person who doesn’t like outlining, who doesn’t like to have a structure that restricts your writing, I would still urge you to have some basic idea of about your characters or your plot or theme before starting to write during the month of November. This can make your life much easier.

If you are an outliner, please go ahead and create your outline in the month of October so that you can easily complete fifty thousand words in thirty days in the month of November.


  • Plan your Commitments

All of us have various other commitments apart from writing. Even if you are a full time writer, you have commitments at home, commitments with your kids, may be commitments in some freelance projects that you take up. So, you have to have some plan on how are you are going to get the 1667 words written every day. For me this would be about two hours of writing in a day. Sometimes it can stretch more than that and can even go up to three. So, two to three hours of writing in a day during every day of November is what I’m looking at. How do I do that?

Calculate the number of hours that you would require for NaNoWriMo every day. May be you can get a babysitter for two to three hours every day in the month of November or maybe you can wake up an hour or two early every day or maybe you want to stay up an hour or two late every day. Though all of this works, my personal suggestion is to check where you waste time every day. Have a tab on the time-sucking activities during Preptober and try to avoid them during November. Some of the possible activities that you can avoid could be:

  • Watching shows/ movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • endless hours spent browsing on social media
  • YouTube binge watching, etc.

Work out a plan on how you are going to approach NaNoWriMo during Preptober itself. Unless and until you have a plan on how you are going to tackle your commitments for November you will find it very difficult to complete your word count.

nanowrimo preptober

  • Take care of your Health

Health is wealth. Everything else comes after that. Though writing is sedentary, it takes a toll on your health if you don’t plan for adequate breaks, proper meals and peaceful sleep. The two or three hours that you spend on writing cannot come out of the hours you would spend in your pilates class or at gym. This should not be hours stolen from your sleep. You can probably give up your late night TV watching or your Saturday movie watching. But please don’t give up on your sleep. An hour or two of lost sleep would be alright but do not do this on a continuous basis. It will not be sustainable for thirty whole days. You would end up ruining your health and giving up on NaNoWriMo which is something we don’t want to happen.

  • Find your Tribe

The next thing that you need to remember is to join the NaNoWriMo forums online. For example, most of my NaNoWriMo writing happens through NaNoWriMo Facebook group through planned write-ins, writing sprints, etc. I receive a lot of encouragement to complete my fifty thousand words in thirty days. My first drafts usually happen during NaNoWriMo which is very convenient for me because I end completing the fifty thousand words, discovering a story (though it is a mess) and then rewriting it for a year or more.  The support of a group definitely helps in making sure that you complete your daily quota of thousand six hundred and sixty seven words. So please do join the NaNoWriMo world forum and the country-specific forums to get a lot of help and support.

  • Back up your Work

Create a plan to save your work during NaNoWriMo. When you are in this frenzy of writing, you may not find adequate time to save and backup your work. Some options available are:

  • Saving to Google Drive or One Drive
  • Saving it in a pen drive
  • Emailing it to yourself

The disadvantage with these options are that you need to actively make an effort to upload your work and back it up. If you forget to do that, you may lose your hard work in a jiffy. This is why I use BACKBLAZE.

Backblaze creates a replica of my laptop in their cloud storage and it is automatic. I do not have to upload anything to Backblaze. As soon as my computer connects to the internet, Backblaze will start uploading the latest changes made to the items stored on my laptop. If my laptop crashes at any point of time, I need to just contact Backblaze and ask them for a copy of my entire laptop and its going to come to me as it was before the crash. If you want to know how Backblaze is better than the other Backup services, you must read this informative article.

If you want to try Backblaze for free, then please click the link here: https://www.backblaze.com/cloud-backup.html#af9rwg 

Whether you choose Backblaze or not, make sure that you have some kind of a regular support system to save your work.

If you have any queries about NaNoWriMo or about how better you can gear up in Preptober, please leave them in the comments below.

Happy Writing!

(Some of the links mentioned above are affiliate links and I get a small commission if you make any purchase using those links. This does not entail any extra cost to you but it helps me to keep making useful videos for you. Thank you!)



nanowrimo, preptober, writing tips

About the author

Welcome! I write for adults and children. More importantly, I love to write for writers. This is where I share everything I know about this mysterious process of writing.

Archana Sarat

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